Assessing competence of undergraduate paramedic student practice: a preliminary evaluation of the Australasian Paramedic Competency Assessment Tool



How to Cite

Smith AC, Framp A, Andersen P. Assessing competence of undergraduate paramedic student practice: a preliminary evaluation of the Australasian Paramedic Competency Assessment Tool. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2020Sep.23 [cited 2020Oct.26];17. Available from:



With the recent introduction of registration for paramedics, and an absence of assessment tools that align undergraduate paramedic student practice to competency standards, this pilot study undertook to develop and evaluate a competency assessment tool designed to provide a standardised approach to student competency assessment. This paper reports the first part of a two-part enquiry evaluating the efficacy of the Australasian Paramedic Competency Assessment Tool (APCAT) to assess the practice competency of undergraduate paramedic students.


With a focus on gathering professional opinion to evaluate the usability of the tool and inform its development, a mixed methods methodology including a survey and open-ended questions were used to gather data from paramedic educators and on-road assessors in Australia and New Zealand. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis.


The outcome of the evaluation was positive, indicating that 81% agreed or strongly agreed that the tool was user-friendly; 71% believed that expectations of student performance and the grading system was clear; 70% found year level descriptors reflected practice expectations; and 66% believed that the resource manual provided adequate guidance.


The APCAT is simple and aligns student practice expectations with competency standards. Results indicate the support for a consistent approach for assessment of undergraduate paramedic student competence. Further research will be undertaken to determine the efficacy of using this tool to assess students in the clinical setting.


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